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"Lengths and Limits"

On first impression, listening to the album, I was certainly able to draw comparisons to other bands of the "emo" variety, as there isn't much that sets them apart from such bands as Panic! or Say Anything. Most of the lyrics are appealing to those who tend to sing along, and they are quite 'relatable' - which perhaps is suitable for their "emo" audience.

I was expecting a lot more form the title song - Lengths And Limits - it didn't really stand out, and the "middle 8" : added to contrast the dynamics of the song, didn’t work as effectively as intended. Many of the chorus's were catchy yet weren't particularily easy to distinguish from the verse, as many stayed in the same key, or at least the tune sounded very similar to that of the verse.

Backing vocals were very effective throughout, the main focus of the songs being that of the lyrics - although appealing to many, I find this too mainstream; they just didn't make me stop and turn my head. The musicians almost become overlooked by the strong vocals. Each track sounded quite similar, although they did try a synthesised drumbeat, bringing a dance-like feel to the track, yet they didn't really pull it off. My favourite track was probably track 11 - 11/97, the "rain" sound effect comes through well with the acoustic guitar - perhaps a slight Doors influence?! You never know! Yet they turn quite "poppy" which ruins the tone of the song.

Personally, I couldn't listen to the entire album through my hi-fi or MP3 without it becoming quite mundane. Their tracks didn't keep me listening, and they are far too similar to other bands. Their lyrics show potential, but they need to touch on other genre's/styles of music, to add more interest and diversity. - Altsounds.com


"Carried Names"

I first heard Carried Names in May, right after the CD release in New Jersey, and over the past two months I can say with confidence that I’ve listened to this EP at least 200 times. I got a good 30 listens just from driving back to Massachusetts from a show in Delaware. For 8 Hours my band mates and I listened to the album on repeat. No one complained or asked to listen to anything else. Carried Names is honestly that good.

I confess that I was probably emotionally predisposed to this album through my friendship with the band (the song “7 Durant” is about my house). Regardless, I feel it’s necessary to point out that while I think that Makeout Party are all great dudes, my appreciation of Carried Names is based on the fact that it’s a near perfect album possessing the emotional depth of End Serenading Mineral, the musical intricacy of American Football, and the melodic grace of mid-career Getup Kids.
Carried Names begins with the mid-tempo “Mid-Twenties Relapse”. Lyrics wax on about post college ennui and the failings of love while the song builds up instrumentally until collapsing into a twinkling guitar outtro where Carmen croons, “We couldn’t float, we were capsized. Can’t say I wasn’t surprised. Everything wasn’t all right.” The song transitions perfectly into the next track “Restore” which showcases Makeout Party’s tight knit sound along with a renewed sense of urgency; the drums and guitars coax each other to drive the song harder and faster.

The next track, “The Worst Fourth of July Ever” may be the best track on a CD full of really good songs. The guitars entwine perfectly, one brightly strumming while another picks the strings longingly. Carmen sings about the difficulty of living on the road while maintaining a life at home; “If I knew that the time would just stop on a dime, then I’d have been sold to stay home. I could sleep on our plans for one more year and wake up to thoughts that this time it was clear.” The song ends with a haunting vocal melody with everyone in the band harmonizing together; it is slightly evocative of Transatlanticism Death Cab but not obviously derivative.

Carried Names continues on with the stripped down “A Year Plus One Month,” a bittersweet ballad about the elusiveness of love and the refuge of religion. Though I generally abhor when bands drop the God bomb, there is something truly beautiful in Carmen’s imagery and delivery of the lines, “Remember sneaking into the church? Remember praying in its pews? It’s been a year plus one month so let’s apologize for our sins.”

The last two songs on the album, “7 Durant” and the title track “Carried Names” are just as remarkable as the previous four songs. “7 Durant” marvels at the wonder of cheap champagne, house parties, and long drives while “Carried Names” is a testament to longing with the song reaching a fist pumping crescendo complete with driving guitars and pleading vocals; powerful without being excessive, emotive without coming across whiny.

I strongly recommend this album to anyone who appreciates mid-90s emo but I feel good recommending Carried Names to anyone who likes music. Makeout Party are tight, inventive, and honest, possessing an emotional depth that feels like a breath of fresh air in a world full of shallow music and oversaturated markets. - Mass Recovery


Discography

Carried Names
Lengths and Limits
Something To Make You Say
B-Sides

Photos

Bio

Makeout Party is a soft rock quintet hailing from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. They focus their time perfecting their live show, creating a memorable experience for their fans to hold on to. The band’s web page describes their live show as, “a heartfelt interpretation of sentimental encounters…the wistfulness of relationships past and the promise of redemption.” While the name might deceive the random listener, their music speaks for itself. Makeout Party fully understands how to conjure warm textures, wrapping the audience in a comfortable blanket of nostalgia and the sweet yearning of our younger years. The band includes lead singer and guitar player, Carmen Cirignano, keyboardist and guitar player, Dustin Isbert, drummer Pat Degan and bassist, Thomas Ryan.

Their primary audience is the college and high school age aficionados of soft, often pretentious, indie rock. However the band does not limit themselves to this genre. Makeout Party is always trying to create an alternate sound that differentiates from the pack while leaving a familiar taste on their listener’s pallets. While Makeout Party is always in search for new listeners, they do not stray from the college radio target audience that has treated them so well.

Makeout Party’s selling points are its dynamic live show, its charming musical sounds and their ability to interact with the audience. For Makeout Party, timing and experience is everything. Carmen states, “Without our fans we are nothing... losers, so I try to show my appreciation for their attention every time I play a song.”